After years of speculation and headlines, in 2014 Ian Thorpe decided to confirm he was gay.
Talking to Sir Michael Parkinson, the former Olympic swimmer told how it had taken a long time to feel comfortable speaking about his sexuality.
“I’m not straight. And this is only something that very recently, we’re talking in the past two weeks, I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that,” he said.
At the time, the then 31-year-old said while he’d wanted to come out, he didn’t feel he could.
“What happened was I felt the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity,” he said.
“And, you know, a little bit of ego comes into this. I didn’t want people to question that… have I lied about everything?”
“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man. And I don’t want young people to feel the same way that I did.
“You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.”
Now Thorpe has revealed to The Daily Telegraph he felt pushed to make the announcement.
“I feel as though people were trying to force me out of the closet when I didn’t even know myself. I really didn’t, or at least I wasn’t sure,” he said.
“I felt like if I’d been given a little bit more time, perhaps I would have comfortable been able to do it… but I was just trying to fit in.”
The swimmer is now joining the ABC for a new program – The Bully Project.
The show will take on bullying in Aussie schools and follow the lives of Queensland students.